Mirabai, Jeremy withdraw from South Asian Games

The Indian weightlifters were asked to pull out of the competition after the Kathmandu event was stripped of its Olympic qualification status.

By Olympic Channel Writer ·

Indian weightlifters Saikhom Mirabai Chanu and Jeremy Lalrinnunga’s quest to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games was dealt an unexpected blow on Tuesday when the Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWLF) decided against sending the two premier competitors to the upcoming 2019 South Asian Games that get underway in Nepal from December 1.

This is after the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) stripped the competition in Kathmandu of its Olympic qualification status following its failure to adhere to an anti-doping norm.

The competition at the 2019 South Asian Games, a silver level event, was served this fate after it failed to stick to the ‘whereabouts’ rule concerning dope testing of athletes.

News reports suggest that with some of the participating nations failing to furnish the whereabouts of their weightlifters in advance to the world governing body, the IWF took the step of removing the Kathmandu competition of its Olympic qualifying status.

The federation’s rule states that the national organisations have to share the details of the competing athletes at least two months ahead of the competition. However, the Indian camp said that they were not hurt much by the recent development as they had preempted it.

“We were expecting such a problem,” Indian weightlifting coach Vijay Sharma said talking to the news website Scroll.in. “So we had entered in the Doha competition beforehand. It does not hurt our chances to qualify.”

Chanu and Lalrinnunga will be seen in action at the International Cup in Doha from December 19 to December 24, another Olympic qualifying event. The Doha event is another silver level event in the IWF calendar and will have a bearing on the Indians’ chances of making it to Tokyo 2020.

The qualification process for the Tokyo Olympics is based on the performances of the weightlifters in six events over a period of 18 months, out of which the four best results will be considered.